In recent years there has been confusion and misuse of the terms associated with tillage, or reduction of tillage.
Minimum tillage cropping is a conservation farming system, which may encompass reduced tillage, direct drilling and zero tillage. It minimises soil disturbance and retains crop residues when sowing, offering many benefits to farmers and their soils.
Over the period of time, where minimum tillage has been researched, tried and adopted, there have been several terms that have evolved and become confused with the definition of minimum tillage. It can mean a number of practices listed below but should in fact be used to describe a sowing system aimed at retaining crop residues and minimising soil disturbance. The following are definitions from the most to the least cultivated as per what the VNTFA is using and will hopefully clear up any confusion in future discussions.
Conventional Cultivation – a system of multiple cultivation passes before sowing for weed control and/or seedbed preparation.
Reduced Tillage – one cultivation with a full cut before sowing and having less soil disturbance than conventional.
Direct Drill – one pass seeding with soil disturbance.
No-Till – one pass seeding with points creating less than 20% soil disturbance.
Zero-Till – one pass sowing system using discs for minimal soil disturbance.